Microsoft may have taken complaints about Windows Vista's bloat quite seriously indeed. CNet reports that Windows 7 will not include successors to Vista's Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery, and Windows Movie Maker applications. In their stead, Microsoft will offer Windows Live equivalents as free, optional downloads.
Those apps have been around since Windows XP, so why the big change? CNet asked Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall, who said the move stemmed from a "desire to issue new operating system releases more quickly than it has in the past." Microsoft also wants to avoid confusing users by offering two different applications that deliver similar functionality—one bundled with Windows and the other tied into Windows Live online services.
The change could explain why recent Windows 7 screenshots show more polished versions of basic apps like WordPad, Paint, and the Windows calculator. It also lends weight to rumors that Microsoft is scrambling to get Windows 7 out the door by next summer instead of the 2010 time frame the company has pointed to in the past. According to ZDNet blogger Ed Bott, Windows 7 could go gold as early as June 3, 2009.